Within the very first pages of Lloyd -Jones book ,Spiritual depression, the believer is re-acquainted with the inverted values that exist within the life of faith. Namely, that there is a stark honesty that must exist in faith and relationship to God. The kind of honesty that leaves one greatly exposed, examined and laid bare. This is exactly the kind of stark honesty we see again and again displayed in the lives of those individual characters found in the bible. These individuals were very imperfect people yet also in every sense “An open book”.
Lloyd -Jones draws the attention of his readers to this reality within the lives of biblical characters and especially to the deep and revealing nature of the Psalms. He says of the Psalms,
“Here we are able to watch noble souls struggling with their problems and with themselves. They talk to themselves and to their souls, baring their hearts, analyzing their problems, chiding and encouraging themselves. Sometimes they are elated, at other times depressed, but they are always honest with themselves. That is why they are of such value to us if we are also honest with ourselves” P.9
I love the descriptions Lloyd-Jones uses here. Struggling, baring hearts, analyzing problems, being elated, depressed, honest with themselves.
(It is important to note that the honesty referred to here by the very nature of its biblical context ,exists in relation to an honesty with oneself before a loving God who is Holy and perfect in himself.)
Yet this is a very inverted value system when compared to the value system outside of the reality of faith. Whereas faith is the striping down of ones soul before a great and mighty and merciful God, the unbelieving world holds all such notions as the worst kind of weakness. The world’s values are strength, independence, being self-directed and putting on up an outward image that masks any internally recognized weakness. Vulnerabilities are seen as a great enemy of the self according to the unwritten code of worldly values.
To answer the question, “Do we come across such a condition as spiritual depression in the scriptures?” Lloyd -Jones brings us to Psalm 42:5,
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”
Ah yes, its all there, in those two questions, the depth of the very soul, the disquieted, restless condition, the self talk and honesty. This is no doubt a spiritually depressed state. This also is no doubt a person of true faith as well because in his vulnerability weakness and distress he knows that God is His help. He is not his own Help. God is.